Warehouse 13, SyFy’s #1 original hit series, has returned with a new season of mysterious artifacts that threaten to destroy the world.
Season 1 followed two Secret Service agents, Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) and Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly), who found themselves abruptly transferred to a massive, top-secret storage facility in South Dakota which houses every strange artifact, mysterious relic, fantastical object and supernatural souvenir ever collected by the U.S. government. Once there, the Warehouse’s caretaker Artie Nielsen (Saul Rubinek) charges them with chasing down reports of supernatural and paranormal activity, in search of new objects to store at the Warehouse, as well as helping him to control the Warehouse itself.
Season 2 picks up right where last season ended, with new mysteries, new artifacts, new guest stars, new enemies and even a cross-over with another original hit SyFy series, Eureka. Co-stars Eddie McClintock and Joanne Kelly recently spoke exclusively with Collider by phone from the Toronto set, and they talked about living up to the success of Season 1, the heightened danger of Season 2, their favorite episodes, which artifacts they with they had to use in their own lives and what they’d like to do on their next hiatus. Check out what they had to say after the jump:
Question: For those who might not have seen the show yet and who could be tuning into Season 2 for the first time, what can you say about Warehouse 13?
Eddie: I play Agent Pete Lattimer. He worked for the U.S. Secret Service, protecting the President of the United States until, one night, some odd occurrences happened on his watch and he got suspended. And then, he was approached and told to go to South Dakota, to this place called Warehouse 13, which is a giant facility in the middle of nowhere, where every strange and supernatural, human and earth born, artifact is stored. We’ve been keeping them there over the centuries, and this is the 13th warehouse that has existed throughout the history of man. My character’s job is to go out and snag, bag and tag the things that are about to ruin the world’s day.
Joanne: It’s a family show. I think it’s for everybody, of all ages. SyFy doesn’t cater to women, but this specific show has really, really dynamic female characters that I’m really pleased to be a part of. It has a lot of heart. It’s a comedy and it’s a drama, at times. I think it’s for everyone. That’s the bottom line, with our show. It offers a little bit of everything.
At the end of Season 1, everyone was in a pretty bad place. What can you say about where things are at now?
Joanne: We pick up right where we left off. There’s no holes, which I really like. This season is very continued from last year. They just lost their father figure, so they’re scrambling, but there are comedic and dramatic elements.
Eddie: We start off with everybody still being in a bad place. We know that MacPherson (Roger Rees), our arch-villain, has been released from captivity by what appears to be a traitor in our midst. We’re not sure if it’s Claudia (Allison Scagliotti) or Leena (Genelle Williams). We know Artie (Saul Rubinek) was blown up in the giant fire and explosion that MacPherson triggered. Pete and Myka are basically unarmed, besides the fact that they just lost their friend, Artie. They watched him go down in flames. So, when we pick back up, the tension picks right back up where it left off, and we begin to learn about the emergence of a new super-villain that’s going to try to infiltrate our ranks.
How does it feel to be on SyFy’s most successful series ever?
Eddie: First of all, it feels great. When I did Warehouse 13, it was my 10th pilot that I had ever done, and it’s my 5th series. To finally be on a show that I love, and to be on a show that other people appreciate, that’s why I do this. I just want to be able to have fun, make a living, feed my family and create something that I’m proud of, and I’m all those things. It’s great.
Joanne: The numbers and all that stuff are not really part of my world. The only thing that’s part of my world are the scripts and the actual shooting, so for me, it’s just the same as last year, when we shot it in a bubble, before anyone watched it or knew what it was.
Was it challenging to live up to that for Season 2?
Joanne: You just try to make it as good as you can and whatever happens after that is completely beyond you.
Eddie: Challenge is good. We are challenged to keep the viewers coming back and we are challenged to have more viewers come, and I think we’ve risen to those challenges. I think the stories are better this year and the actual show itself is more well-defined and better explained. There’s not a lot of mystery involved. You don’t necessarily have to watch every episode to understand what’s going on. You can watch each episode on its own and still have it be an enjoyable experience. That’s what the network is looking for, and that’s what the people are looking for.
Was there a specific moment when you realized this show was a hit?
Joanne: I don’t live in that world very much. I don’t go to parties. I spend a lot of my time in Canada, so my world hasn’t changed at all. Not even a little bit. It’s nice to have a job, and it’s nice to have a job that I believe in because I really do think that this show has a lot to offer. But, beyond that, it hasn’t changed my life, in any way. I don’t look like I do on the show. I don’t wear suits and my hair is not done. I’m a ball cap person, so I don’t ever get recognized. It doesn’t really affect me.
Eddie: I’m still skeptical. They say it’s a big hit, but I’ve become so guarded over the years because I’ve gotten my hopes raised up and then dashed. When I signed 500 Pete Lattimer trading cards the other day, that was pretty cool. That was pretty neat. And then, there was the time when our billboard went up on the entire side of the Sofitel Hotel in Beverly Hills, and it’s going to be there again this year. I used to drive around L.A., looking at all the billboards and going, “Man, I wonder if I’ll ever make it.” For some reason, I made having your own billboard the benchmark of success. It’s just another milestone that has been reached, and now I’m hoping we can just keep on trucking. It seems like we will be.
Since it usually takes some time for a show to find itself, having had that chance now, how do you think your characters are evolving this season? Will viewers get to see obvious changes in the characters?
Joanne: I don’t think so. Last year, we found the show about mid-way through the season. Each episode is very different, and I like that about it. It can go anywhere. Last season, you saw Myka start a journey and that journey continues this season. Myka worked through a lot of her issues, her loneliness and her isolation by learning to open up and trust Artie (Saul Rubinek) and Pete (Eddie McClintock) last year, and you’ll see more of the same this year.
Eddie: Every episode, we try to divulge a little bit more about our characters. For instance, in “Mild Mannered” (Episode 2), we find out about Pete’s love of comic books. We love the fact that he’s so into comic books and loves them, and the story goes along and is fun, and it has its moments where Pete can be a little silly, but then we find out that the reason he loves comic books is because he used comic books to keep himself safe from the fact that his father was killed in a fire. Everything that we find out is all grounded in this great reality, and I think it will help people to relate to the characters. There’s a piece of all of us, in all these characters.
How much have the stakes heightened in Season 2, as far as the danger you guys get put in and the amount of effects or stunts you’re dealing with?
Joanne: This year is bigger and better. It’s very high-concept this year. The writers have done a really wonderful job on the episodes, and I’m really, really proud of what we’ve done so far this season. I think they’re above and beyond some of the ones we did last year.
Eddie: Even last year, we tried to keep the danger high. We wanted to be exciting and thrilling. I don’t know if we’ve raised the stakes, but we probably have. The writers did a great job last year, and they’ve done a great job this year. We try to keep it at a high level of intensity. Even if we’re acting in front of a green screen, we believe 100% and we play it as though it’s happening. Otherwise, the audiences these days are smart enough to know that you’re faking. So, I go for it, every time.
Have the stunts and the green screen work gotten any easier, or is it still just as challenging each time?
Eddie: It’s easier this year because, last year, we didn’t know if the effects were going to look cheesy or stupid, and then our careers would take a nose dive because we’d look like idiots. But, they do such a great job that you go, “Oh, okay, I see what we’re going to get.” It’s easier to let yourself hang out there, knowing that they’re going to produce something that’s going to be top quality and not make you look like an idiot.
Now that you guys have done an entire season together, does it feel like you’ve all become a family? How has that dynamic changed among you, as actors? Do you notice it affecting your performance at all?
Joanne: Of course, there’s an ease, but I think this show was so well cast that there was an ease pretty much right from the beginning, with all of us. That was pretty obvious in some of the episodes last year. We’re a big, dysfunctional family. We couldn’t be any closer. Sometimes we fight and get upset with each other – that’s all part of it – but, at the end of the day, I think all of us love and respect the other one, and I do think that translates on camera. As an actor, you have to trust. That trust was built and solidified last year, and we can play with it and be loose with it now.
Eddie: Anytime you spend 15 or 16 hours a day with someone, five days a week for six months, that’s more time than some people spend with their own families, so it does affect the dynamic between the actors. It can actually help or destroy chemistry on a show, depending on how people feel when they’re not on camera. If people despise each other, you’ve got to be a pretty good actor to show that there’s chemistry on screen. Luckily, we’ve been able to stay friends and actually build on the relationships. We are like a family. Sometimes we don’t get along, and sometimes we have differences of opinion, but ultimately, we love each other and have respect for each other, and that shows in the end product as well.
Have you had any particular favorite artifacts on the series? Is there any one of the objects that you wish you had for yourself because it could be useful or helpful in your own life?
Joanne: Maybe the Studio 54 disco ball. I wouldn’t mind going back and seeing Studio 54. That must have been pretty cool.
Eddie: My ultimate artifact would be Janis Joplin’s backstage pass from Woodstock. Anybody who holds the backstage pass can travel to any concert through time, so I could go see The Doors, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, and all the bands I was able to see because I was too young or they no longer existed.
You’ve had some great guest stars already this season, including Lindsay Wagner. What’s it been like to work with the guest stars and bring new people into the show?
Joanne: It’s always a tricky thing to bring somebody into a set that has a balance like ours does. We’ve been really fortunate. You always hear stories about people being nightmares in this business, but I’ve been so fortunate, and the show has been so fortunate, that we haven’t really run into that. Lindsay Wagner is such a lovely human being. She’s so elegant and graceful. It’s been more of the same from Roger Rees, who played MacPherson. Roger has been around forever and he’s a brilliant actor, and it’s just such a pleasure to work with someone who is doing a play in London with Ian McKellan right now. As an actor, you feel very blessed.
Eddie: Luckily, the guest stars aren’t just cast for stunts. They were all great actors who added something to the show. Working with Lindsay Wagner was just fantastic. I grew up with her. And, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher and Tia Carrere were amazing. It’s been a remarkable experience, to be able to work with all these people that have had such success in the sci-fi world, and just the regular acting world.
How was it to do the cross-over between your show and Eureka?
Joanne: It was fun. We see the Eureka cast on promo stuff a lot, so I know a lot of them. Plus, some of them are Canadian and I’m Canadian, so I’ve run into them before. It was really cool to have a person from a different show on set. It was really relaxed. They cast really well on our show, so it never seems like the rhythm gets upset by anyone. It only feels added to.
Eddie: I think it will be a great bit of fun for the fans. Neil Grayston came and did our show, and I just think the world of him. He’s great, and he assimilated with our cast quite nicely, so it was fun.
Do you have any particular favorite episodes this season that you can’t wait for fans to get to see?
Joanne: I don’t know about favorite episodes, but I did have the most challenging episode I’ve done so far. “Duped” was my most challenging episode last year, but this year, the artifact is a Griffin, and I am terrified to see that show. I think it will be self-explanatory when it airs. It’s in mid-season this year. I am just terrified to see that episode. That should be interesting.
Eddie: There’s an episode called “Merge with Caution,” that’s Pete-centric, that’s my favorite thus far. But, my opinion may change.
How has it been to shoot this in Toronto? What’s it been like to work there?
Eddie: I’m pretty much either working or sleeping, and it’s tough because my family is back in L.A. But, thank Buddha for Skype and iChat because I do get to see my boys and my wife every day. A lot of times, we just turn the iChat on and leave it on in the room, so we’re basically in the same room together and I can hear the boys playing, and we check in every now and again. It’s really like we’re there, even though obviously we’re not.
Joanne: I’ve lived here for a number of years, before I moved to L.A. I’m a Canadian girl, so it’s nice to be in my city. I love Toronto, love the crew, love the people, love the food, love the hockey and I love the teams. For me, it’s like coming home. I’m closer to my parents. It’s nice. It’s a lot of fun. Most of my friends live here, so I have a support group here, which is really nice when you’re filming. Not that I ever get to see anyone, but on those rare occasions that I do have a little bit of time, I can go sit and have a glass of wine and catch up with my friends who could care less if I was an actor and never watch my show. We never talk about the business or the industry, it’s just about catching up. It’s really nice for me to just step away from that world, and Toronto really offers that opportunity. It’s not like L.A., where it can suffocate you because you can’t ever get away from it. Here, you can really step away from it. It allows you to. Canadians are very polite, in the sense that, if they do recognize you, they usually won’t say anything. We’re polite to the point of being rude. So, I really enjoy it here.
When you work on a show that’s so successful, does that affect the quality of work you want to do in the future, when you’re looking for what you want to do next?
Joanne: Yeah. Anything you do that ups your visibility is a good thing. For me, personally, this character is very rounded and dynamic. I’ve gotten to do a lot. I’ve gotten to do dramatic bits and comedic bits, and show a little bit of everything and do my own stunts. You keep your fingers crossed. The industry has changed a lot, in the last five years. With the economy, a lot of people are very scared and there are less films and TV shows being made, so work is not easy to be found. I know a lot of really brilliant actors who are out of work, so you try to be thankful for the work you have and hope and pray for other work. That’s the position I’m in now. I’m very lucky to have a show. I’m very lucky to be working because there are a lot of actors that aren’t, who are really, really good.
Eddie: I think I’ve always tried to hold myself out and only do a certain quality of project. I wouldn’t do it, if I didn’t think it was of quality. If you’re the #1 show, it’s a challenge, and I’ve lived my life trying to challenge myself, as much as I can. I don’t know why that is, it’s just in my nature. I just happen to be one of those people. When I decided to be an actor, years ago, I just said, “Look, I’m not going to do this unless I can be the best,” but I don’t know what “the best” is. I grew up wrestling and playing football where, at the end of the game, you have a score and you’re either the winner of loser. There’s no score in acting, but you qualify your level of success by the people that you work with and the amount of exposure that you have. I’m just going to keep on plugging along. Frankly, I’d love to someday do a movie with Steven Soderbergh again, and work with Brad Pitt or Robert DeNiro, or any of my true film heroes.
Do you like to look for projects to do on hiatus, or do you also like to have time to relax and recharge?
Eddie: I want to keep working. I can rest when I’m dead. Granted, I want to be able to spend some time with my family and my boys, but as long as I continue to work, I can spend quality time in Aruba with my family. We can go on a trip somewhere. That’s where I’m at.
Joanne: I get bored after about two weeks. With the schedule being as intense as it is, once you get away from that, you don’t know what to do with yourself. This year, I’m hoping to spend a little bit more time traveling and getting away from North America. But, working is one of my favorite things to do, so no doubt, I’ll be auditioning quite soon after the series ends for the season.
Joanne, what is Last Stop and who do you play in that?
Joanne: It’s a great film, and I’m really looking forward to seeing it. It should be out in November sometime. My character’s name is Claire. It’s a thriller and I play a scientist. I go through this terrifying and horrifying journey with Mena Suvari and Brian Austin Green, and several other actors. It’s kind of a Hitchcockian thriller.
Was it fun to do something so different from your role on Warehouse 13?
Joanne: Yeah, it was really interesting to just go in a completely different direction. It’s always fun to step out of the genre, and just the rhythm and the pace of the show, and do something different.
Season 2 of Warehourse 13 premieres on SyFy on July 6th